Exploring the real Iran, with social media as your guide

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Travelling independently, our writer relies on the advice and generosity of the young Iranians who are using social media to show foreign visitors the warm, fun and defiant reality of everyday life in their country.. Βeing completely disconnected on holiday isn’t as romantic as some purist travellers may suggest. It might be fine if you plan to stay on a beach or… Source: Exploring the real Iran, with social media as your guide | Travel | The Guardian Read More »

Politicians and clergy are out of step on euthanasia

Between 70 and 80 per cent of people believe voluntary-assisted dying should be made legal. Former prime minister Bob Hawke has recently come out in favour of the proposal, but other politicians and the clergy are holding back progress… Source: Politicians and clergy are out of step on euthanasia Read More »

Can a Turkey sliding into despotism and censorship still join the EU? The answer must be no

The sight of Europe’s leaders kowtowing to the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was sickening. It is waging war on an ethnic minority, its riot police just stormed the offices of a major newspaper, its secret service faces allegations of arming Isis, itsmilitary shot down a Russian bomber – and yet Turkey wants to join the… Source: Can a Turkey sliding into despotism and censorship still join the EU? The answer must be no | Paul Mason | Opinion | The ... Read More »

Cricket-mad Sister Brigid Arthur goes into bat for refugee rights

Feisty Sister Brigid Arthur, 81, is at the forefront of Christian social action. Being a cricket fan, Sister Brigid Arthur was killing time by listening to Test match commentary on her car radio while she waited for friends to return to their North Melbourne home. It was March 2001, a few months before the watershed Tampa crisis and children-overboard scandal altered the course of the 2001 federal election campaign and Australia’s political… Source: Cricket-mad Sister Brigid Arthur goes into bat ... Read More »

Academia in Turkey ‘reminds me of Ceauşescu’s Romania’, says exiled scholar

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Political theorist Andrei Stavilă explains how a comment on a friend’s Facebook page led to exit from Turkish university Times Higher Education By Jack Grove Twitter: @jgro_the A politics lecturer has alleged that he was forced to resign from a Turkish university after making a Facebook comment criticising government efforts to intimidate and silence academics. Andrei Stavilă had recently been informed that his one-year contract at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University, in eastern Turkey, would be renewed for two more years ... Read More »

Pope Francis set for historic meeting with leader of Russian Orthodox Church

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Vatican City: Pope Francis will make a surprise trip to Cuba on February 12 for a historic meeting with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, the first meeting between a pope and the Russian patriarch since the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity split nearly 1000 years ago, the Vatican announced Friday. The Sydney Morning Herald * Elisabetta Povoledo * For Pope Francis, the meeting is the result of delicate and sustained diplomacy, some of which began decades ago under ... Read More »

French law forbids food waste by supermarkets

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Food banks and other charities welcome law making large shops donate unsold food and stop spoiling items to deter foragers The Guardian – Angelique Chrisafis in Paris France has become the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate it to charities and food banks. Under a law passed unanimously by the French senate, as of Wednesday large shops will no longer bin good quality food approaching its best-before ... Read More »

Malcolm Turnbull Has Ducked The Greatest Moral Challenge Of His Political Life

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On 3 February 2016 the High Court of Australia dismissed an application which challenged the constitutional underpinnings of Australia’s offshore detention regime. The Huffington Post, Julian Burnside, Barrister, human rights activist, supporter of the arts * Offshore detention is a practice introduced by the Howard government in 2001 in response to the Tampa episode. The Norwegian cargo ship MV Tampa had rescued 438 people (mostly Afghan Hazaras) after their boat sank. It is startling to remember that, in the year to August ... Read More »

Nauru: How long can we keep lying to ourselves?

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The history of asylum seeker policy in Australia will be remembered as a story of how successive governments legislated their lies to justify a world of make-believe borders and imaginary compliance. The Sydney Morning Herald – Waleed Aly, Columnist Video – CHURCH WILL LOCK DOORS TO PROTECT FAMILIES – ””” The Anglican Dean of Brisbane feels “so desperate” about the plight of asylum seekers facing deportation he is offering to protect them in the church and resist by closing the building.””” Wonderful idea, sovereignty. ... Read More »

‘How can you say no?’

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After nearly five years of war in Syria, its tiny neighbour Lebanon has the highest concentration of refugees in the world. But while an overstretched government is increasingly hostile, some Palestinian residents are bucking the trend, responding with great generosity – across the religious divide. Reem Haddad reports. New Internationalist Something strange and new is happening on a little hill just 12 kilometres north of Beirut. Veiled women are walking around the narrow alleys of a little Christian enclave. In tow ... Read More »

Australian Open: Protesters who disrupted men’s tennis final in Melbourne charged a year on

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A group of asylum seeker advocates who staged a protest during the men’s Australian Open tennis final last year have been charged nearly 12 months after the event. ABC – By the National Reporting Team’s Dan Oakes Key points: Eight protesters have been changed under the Major Sporting Events Act. Protester says she has no doubt the charges are aimed at deterring activists. Activist says the charges will not deter her from further protests. One of the protesters said today ... Read More »

Comment: Black boys are perceived as older and less innocent than their white peers

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A survey of police officers aimed to measure hidden biases about black people, especially children. The results are striking, writes Melissa Dahl. SBS – By Melissa Dahl Source: Science of Us Earlier this week, a grand jury ruled that the Cleveland police officers would not face criminal charges in the death of Tamir Rice. The boy, who was 12, was playing with a toy gun near his home when he was shot by a police officer last November. Much has been written about ... Read More »

Muslim leaders including the Grand Mufti of Australia back fatwa against Islamic

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Australia’s leading imams have backed a fatwa against the Islamic State terrorist group, warning that any support for the group contradicts Islamic teachings. The Age – Natalie O’Brien, Investigative Reporter In a New Year message to the nation’s Muslim community, the Grand Mufti of Australia together with prominent imams from NSW and Victoria have given their religious opinions and urged congregations, particularly the youth, to listen to their religious leaders. The Grand Mufti, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, who is the spiritual leader of Muslims in Australia said “most ... Read More »

Does Political Islam Have a Future?

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Five years after the Arab Spring, hope for a nonviolent and Islam-inflected politics is narrower than ever. The National Interest – Cameron Glenn The political space for nonviolent, Islam-inflected politics has become narrower and more treacherous in the last year. Squeezed by repression on one side and radical violence on the other, nonviolent political Islamists were increasingly silenced or eliminated in 2015. Moderate parties were sidelines in Egypt, Algeria, Jordan and Morocco. In Syria, Libya, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority, their ... Read More »

Review: In ‘NFL Confidential,’ Protein Shakes Instead of Bling and Booze

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There are many ways to be macho on a football field. In “NFL Confidential: True Confessions From the Gutter of Football,” a player writing under the pen name Johnny Anonymous relates a method of expressing masculinity that fans might not have considered. The New York Times – By DWIGHT GARNER “For some guys, linemen especially,” he writes, urinating in your pants while on the field “is actually a thing, a sign that you’re so into the game, so much of a ... Read More »

Islam as partisan profit: An Egyptian epic

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Scholars, whether religious authorities or not, would fulfil a great role if they would exhibit consistency. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H A Hellyer is a senior nonresident fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council in DC. @hahellyer When the Egyptian uprising broke out in 2011, the opponents of Hosni Mubarak consisted of many different groups and trends. Within a few months, the “divorce” between the revolutionary camp and the Muslim Brotherhood-led faction began. At the heart ... Read More »